‘Mahalaya’ heralds the advent of Maa Durga/Shakti, the Goddess of Supreme Power and the day today (23rd Sept), marked a special day of Mahalaya, of the year 2014.
Maa Durga is The Invincible One, She who cannot be defeated in battle. Mahalaya is a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth – “Jago Tumi Jago, Jago Maa”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs. Mahalaya has come to associate itself with an early morning community invocation, the invocation known as Mahishasura Mardini or The Annihilation of the Demon- Mahishasura.
The time at which Durga Puja is celebrated nowadays (autumn) is not supposed to be the right time to perform the puja, as per the scriptures. That is why Durga Puja is also sometimes called Akaal Bodhan (untimely invocation). The reason for this timing may be traced back to the days of Ramayana. Lord Rama had performed Chandi Puja at this time to invoke the blessings of Maa Durga before waging war with Ravana, the king who had abducted his wife, Sita. There was a demon Mahishasura who performed several penances and was granted a boon by Brahma, the creator of the universe, that he could not be killed by Man or God. Having received this boon, he promptly began to terrorize heaven and earth, even defeating Indra, the king of the gods, and driving the gods out of heaven. Unable to tolerate his tyranny the gods pleaded with Vishnu to annihilate the demon.
The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) came together to create a powerful female form with ten arms – Goddess Durga or ‘Mahamaya’, the Mother of the Universe who embodied the primeval source of all power. She faced Mahishasura in battle, with ten hands wielding ten powerful weapons given to her by the Gods – Shiva’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Indra’s thunderbolt, bow and arrows, a sword, a mace, a snake, a conch and a lotus flower. The battle was fierce and Mahishasura, the demon, took on the forms of many terrible beasts to try and defeat her. Mahishasura’s army also contained many colourful asuras, notable among whom was Raktabija (literally ‘blood seeds’), every drop of whose blood transformed into a clone of Raktabija when it touched the ground. Maa Durga replied by creating a more terrible form of herself, Maa Kali, who spread out her giant tongue to drink his blood before it touched the ground, thus bringing about his downfall. Maa Durga proved to be more than a match for the asura armies. She annihilated them and finally slayed Mahishasura on the tenth day when he was transforming from buffalo to human form.
Heaven and earth rejoiced at her victory !
If you wish to hear the invocation, you can listen to the audio posted below, it is a beautiful rendition of a powerful invocation to the Goddess.
Below is the description extracted from the Shlokas, how Maa Durga came to being formed 🙂
Having thus heard the words of the devas, Vishnu was angry and also Shiva, and their faces became fierce with frowns. Then issued forth a great light from the face of Vishnu who was full of intense anger, and from that of Brahma and Shiva too. From the bodies of Indra and other devas also sprang forth a very great light. And (all) the light united together.
The devas saw there a concentration of light like a mountain blazing excessively, pervading all the quarters with its flames. Then that unique light produced from the bodies of all the devas, pervading all the three worlds with its lusture, combined into one and became a female form.
By that which was Shiva’s light, her face came into being; by Yama’s (light) her hair, by Vishnu’s light her arms; and by Chandra’s (light) her two breasts. By Indra’s light her waist, by Varun’s (light) her shanks and thighs and by earth’s light her hips. By Brahma’s light her feet came into being; by Surya’s light her toes, by Vasu’s (light) her fingers, by Kuber’s (light) her nose; by Prajapati’s light her teeth came into being and similarly by Agni’s light her three eyes were formed. The light of the two sandhyas became her eye-brows, the light of Vayu her ears; the manifestation of the lights of other devas too ( contributed to the being of the ) auspicious Devi.
Then looking at her, who came into being from the assembled lights of all the devas, the immortals who were oppressed by Mahishasura experienced joy. The bearer of Pinaaka (hiva) drawing forth a trident from his own trident presented it to her; and Vishnu bringing forth a discus out of his own discus gave her. Varuna gave her a conch, Agni a spear; Maruta gave a bow as well as two quivers full of arrows.
Indra, lord of devas, bringing forth a thrunderbolt out of (his own) thunderbolt and a bell from his elephant Airaavata, gave her. Yama gave a staff from his own staff of Death and Varuna the lord of waters, noose; and Brahma, the lord of beings, gave a string of beads and water-pot.
Surya bestowed his own rays on all the pores of her skin and Kaala (Time) gave her a spotless sword and a shield.
The milk-ocean gave a pure necklace, a pair of undecaying garments, a divine crest-jewel, a pair of ear-rings, bracelets, a brilliant half-moon(ornament), armlets on all arms, a pair of shining anklets, a unique necklace and excellent rings on all the fingers. Vishvakarma gave her a brilliant axe, weapons of various forms and also an impenetrable armour. The ocean gave her a garland of unfading lotuses for her head and another for her breasts besides a very beautiful lotus in her hand. The (mountain) Himaavat gave her a lion to ride on and various jewels.
The lord of wealth (Kuber) gave her a drinking cup, ever full of wine. Shesha, the lord of all serpents, who supports this earth, gave her a serpent-necklace bedecked with the best jewels. Honoured likewise by other devas also with ornaments and weapons, she (the Devi) gave out a loud roar with a defying laugh again and again. By her unending, exceedingly great, terrible roar the entire sky was filled, and there was great reverberation. All worlds shook, the seas trembled.
The earth quaked and all the mountains rocked. “Victory to you”, exclaimed the devas in joy to her, the lion rider. The sages, who bowed their bodies in devotion, extolled her. Seeing the three worlds agitated the foes of devas, mobilized all their armies and rose up together with uplifted weapons. Mahishasura, exclaiming in wrath, “Ha! What is this?” rushed towards that roar, surrounded by innumerable asuras. Then he saw the Devi pervading the three worlds with her lustre. Making the earth bend with her footstep, scraping the sky with her diadem, shaking the nether worlds with the twang of her bow-string, and standing there pervading all the quarters around with her thousand arms.
Compilation Source: Ayan.